St Patrick's Athletic manager, Stephen O’Donnell expected the FAI Cup final to go to extra time, and his side have been preparing for penalties for the last ten days.

And the preparation reaped rewards as the Saints secured a 4-3 penalty shoot-out victory in Sunday’s final after the match with Bohemians ended scoreless at full-time and then 1-1 after extra time.

The Saints manager got exactly what he expected, which was a very close contest with both sides enjoying periods of domination throughout the atritional encounter.

Chris Forrester handed St Pat’s the lead just before the end of the first period of extra time before Rory Feely headed Bohemians back into the contest just after the break.

And O’Donnell admitted that he could easily have been sitting in the losers’ dressing room only for the heroics of his goalkeeper in the final minutes ahead of the penalty shoot-out.

Forrester had his penalty saved in the duel at the death, however, the Inchicore club got back into the contest after Tyreke Wilson and Keith Ward missed the target.

Robbie Benson then had the responsibility of taking the deciding penalty and the experienced midfielder made no mistake as St Pat’s won the FAI Cup for the fourth time and their first since 2014.

"We did talk about it, it’s unbelievable the amount of FAI Cup finals that have gone to extra time or penalties in recent years," said O’Donnell, speaking at the post match press conference.

"We practiced penos for the last week to 10 days and I had a feeling it was going to go the full distance.

"You can’t replicate the bit of pressure but our lads were definitely in a good rhythm with regards taking penalties.

"It was such a turbulent extra time, I thought we a had a good foothold," added O’Donnell.

"Chris scored just before the end of the first half, then Rory scores right after half-time and at the death Vites pulls off a couple of unbelievable saves. You know, swings and roundabouts."

Robbie Benson dispatches the all-important penalty at the Aviva

St Pat’s approached the game with the added protection of Jamie Lennon sitting in front of the back four and looked to hit Bohemians on the counterattack with Chris Forrester playing in an advanced role.

Billy King replaced Lennon after 61 minutes, which led to Forrester dropping into a deeper, playmaking role with Ronan Coughlan, a more conventional centre-forward, leading the line.

It certainly gave Saints a more progressive outlook on proceeding for the final 30 minutes ahead of extra-time, however, O’Donnell said the formation had nothing to do with planning for the additional 30 but rather the best way to win the game.

"We didn't set out for it to go to extra-time, we felt it was our best chance of winning the game, that shape, we did a good bit of work on it," said O’Donnell.

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"We knew we were going to go more unorthodox as the game went on with the point man, Ronan, going up top. I thought that was the best way with the stages of fitness that the lads were at. I felt that was our best way of setting up."

Of course, formation mattered for little by the time the penalty lottery came around but the manager was delighted to see Robbie Benson dispatch the winning penalty.

Benson was a team-mate with O’Donnell in the all-conquering Dundalk side, and O’Donnell felt the Cup victory was just dessert for the midfielder who followed him to St Pat’s

"I said to Robbie out there that he came here at a time when the sensible and the sane thing was to stay at Dundalk, stay with a title-winning team.

"He showed massive cojones to come and believed in me, believed in the project.

"He was very comfortable at Dundalk, winning leagues and to be part of it from the very start. If ever a person deserved to score the winning penalty it was him."

The Inchicore club celebrate with their fans at the end of the game

As for O’Donnell the manager expects the victory to boost the team heading into next year’s campaign where they will look to challenge for top honours in the league.

However, the manager felt that the season was already a success for the club following their runners-up finish in the title race and reaching the FAI Cup final.

"I would have been delighted with our boys win, lose or draw," said O’Donnell.

"We came second in the league, got to the FAI Cup final. This is the icing on the cake and I’m just delighted for them, for some of them to add to their medal haul and most of the others to win their first senior medal.

"It’s great for us, it’s great for their confidence. Now they know they’ve been there, they’ve done it so they should kick on from it."

"This season the league run helped us, we were up there chasing Rovers for most of the season. That gave the lads belief that we are not that far off them.

"This is huge for them belief wise, going and winning a trophy, especially the younger ones"

And while St Pat’s still have to work out the playing side of things for the new campaign, O’Donnell expects his own future to be sorted out over the next couple of weeks.

"We will see," said O’Donnell, when asked would he be St Pat’s manager next season.

"We will get that sorted over the next week or two."